It’s fall. And you know what that means. The Mean Girl sheds her light, breezy summer coat of benovolence and wraps herself in the warm, woolly shawl of ruthless criticism. No network is safe during Boob Tube’s annual Changing of the Channels, in which we provide you commentary on the new fall shows.
Last year, we ended our commentary with CBS, so it’s only fair that we turn the tables this time around.
Welp, CSI appears to be winding down. When Grissom leaves in the middle of this season, we’re betting that’s the beginning of the end. Of course, like a video game, there are still two more bosses to get through; Lieutenant Dan and The Lizard Man, respectively.
As the CSI franchise circles the drain, so, too do CBS’s fortunes. They’ve certainly done some planning to make up for it, though. The Ghost Whisperer, of all shows, has become a respectable draw, and Criminal Minds is, in our opinion, the best procedural thriller on primetime right now. How I Met Your Mother remains one of the funniest shows on television. For real. (Call us, Carter Bays and Craig Thomas! We only want Neil Patrick Harris’s phone number!) And we are not immune to the charms of the nerdery on display in Numb3rs and The Big Bang Theory. Well, SOME of us aren’t immune to The Big Bang Theory.
Then there’s the crap.
We speak, of course, of shows like Two and a Half Men, (one of the biggest steaming piles of garbage the television world has ever produced), The New Adventures of Old Christine (Sorry, Elaine Benes. As far as we’re concerned, that Seinfeld curse is still in effect. We don’t care how many emmys you get), Rules of Engagement (Come on now. How is this show still on?) And Greatest American Dog. (WTF? Clearly pugs and boxers are where it’s at! Case closed.) And let’s not forget those that have worn out their welcome: Big Brother, Cold Case, Without a Trace, Survivor, The Amazing Race and The Unit. There are some new shows that also suck. We don’t mind telling you that a resounding chorus of “NO THANK YOU” echoed in the missile silo where Boob Tube is headquartered the day Swingtown premiered. It’s like watching our parents act sexy.
But we’re concentrating on the fall schedule. Onward! To the hatred!
Worst Week – A guy tries, and fails, to impress the parents of his fiancée. (Mon.)
Salome: I am offended that CBS calls 2.5 Men/Worst Week “the best comedy block on television.” Uh, turn the clock back an hour, CBS (to Big Bang Theory/How I Met Your Mother) and I could get with that. The Office and 30 Rock? Of course. But this?
Tanis: I’m really not sure what this show is about from the clip I saw, which never bothers to explain the plot. It’s just inane shit happening to some dude and it makes him look bad to his fiancée’s parents. I side with the fiancée’s father, who, when lead guy makes a joke about punching his future bride in the face, asks him to “Explain to me what’s funny about punching my daughter in the face.” Yes. Please do explain that. This isn’t funny, it’s just squirmy and awkward. Kind of like The Office, if The Office wasn’t hilarious. And since I’m being mean: The lead guy is unattractive. His eyes are too close together. And I do not want to see ANYBODY in a plastic diaper. There is a saving grace to this show. Just when I was about to slit my wrists from sheer boredom, Red Foreman answered the door, looking like he was going to put his foot up lead dude’s ass. That, I would tune in for.
Jess: Sam is having the worst week ever! A woman loves him and her parents don’t and all these wacky coincidences happen that make Sam look bad. The previews assure us that Sam is a good guy, but I want to punch him in the groin for some reason. I hate this character, I hate his wacky coincidences and I hate his makeshift garbage bag diaper. I would watch it if it was just a half hour of Kurtwood Smith slapping this dude around. Who wouldn’t watch that? In fact, I’m going to pitch that if this show gets canned. Unfortunately for me Worst Week follows the bullet proof Two and a Half Men, and it would have suck epically to not get those viewers. For some reason, people love watching Charlie Sheen being Charlie Sheen instead of Neil Patrick Harris being awesome. I guess the Kurtwood Smith Slap Hour is too beautiful for this Earth.
The Mentalist – A procedural about a detective who used to be a mentalist. (Tues.)
Tanis: Simon Baker. What happened, man? I used to like you. This character seems like a big tit. And this show seems like a fairly obvious ripoff of Psych, on USA network. But they aren’t playing it for laughs here. At least, not on purpose. The only thing I like about this show is the Asian detective who spoils The Mentalist’s fraudulent telekinesis fun by explaining how his tricks are done. He’s like, the unmasked magician. But hot. I’d watch a show that was about some lone wolf detective who also had a passion for magic and went around revealing frauds like Simon Baker’s character for who they are. Anyway: THRILL as I don’t watch this show! DELIGHT in my hatred! REVEL in my disgust that this made it on the air and will probably do well!
Jess: To prepare for his role Simon Baker studied at the prestigious Mandy Patinkin School of Acting Like A Huge Douchenozzle Who Knows Everything and Treats His Team Like Shit. Baker plays a fake psychic who’s just so fucking rad at investigation that he gets to solve crimes anyway, even though he’s a fraud and a terrible human being. Detectives are stupid! No one would watch a show that was just about them and no one ever has. What do they know about serial killers? Nothing! That’s why they went to police college instead of Mandy Patinkin U. I like to hire detectives to do menial tasks for me. Like taking out the trash, or doing my dishes. They’re not really needed to solve crimes, since that’s what psychics, crime scene investigators and Nancy Grace do. They might as well solve the case of “where’s my dinner?” This show vexes me. It’s vexing. It’s also galling, aggravating, irritating, bothersome, annoying, displeasing, grating, antagonizing, balls-gargling, oh – and irksome.
Salome: Oh, shit balls.
Gary Unmarried – A newly divorced husband and wife bicker over their children and their new relationships. (Wed.)
Salome: It’s The New Adventures of Old Gary!
Tanis: This show apparently underwent a name change. First, it was Project Gary. It’s now Gary Unmarried. Guess what, Gary? That still sounds terrible. But it’s not the name, it’s the entire premise. Did you know divorced people don’t get along? It’s true! I feel bad for everybody involved with this. I can’t explain my weird crush on Jay Mohr, but it began on SNL and solidified when Bob Sugar beat that stupid, smug, Jerry Maguire at his own game. I even watched Picture Perfect. And enjoyed it! That said, I am so embarrassed that he’s involved with this. I’m afraid it will forever taint him. And he’s been on Ghost Whisperer! Ghost Whisperer, people! That was bad enough, but at least it was a guilty pleasure. This is just guilty. Guilty of what? Oh, let’s just say everything.
Jess: I want to buy Jay Mohr a beer, no scratch that, a tanker truck full of tequila, and wipe the flop sweat from his beleaguered brow. Poor buddy. Poor little guy! I know when you did the pilot, you never thought it would air. No one did. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t know. Just drink until you can’t remember. It’ll be okay. It’ll all be over soon. You can go back to Ghost Whisperer. Look, there’s Jennifer Love Hewitt! She’s reaching out to you. Step into the light, Jay Mohr!
The Eleventh Hour – A government scientist and his partner hunt scientific criminals. (Thurs.)
Jess: On paper this show sounds pretty good. It’s based on a short British TV series starring Patrick Stewart, the captain of the starship Fucking Awesome (better than Kirk, shut up, you know it’s true). Rufus Sewell stars as a scientist who drives around in a van solving science mysteries with his hot female bodyguard. I love mysteries, science and Rufus Sewell. So why doesn’t this look better? Despite lackluster previews and a similarity to a much more hyped show premiering this fall, I think this could do well enough. CBS seems to specialize in stealth success. Shows that don’t seem popular but actually pull respectable numbers. I’ll probably watch this if I’m not doing anything else. It’s on opposite ER‘s death throes, so it doesn’t have much competition. Did you know that ER now does worse than The Unit? Did you know The Unit was still on? See, that’s CBS’ weird magic.
Tanis: The trailer is hilariously overwrought and Rufus Sewell gives every sentence the most serious intonation I’ve ever heard, but strangely, he does not do so with his British accent. He makes up for that by explaining cloning using grapes. Cloning is delicious. The other thing that makes me not want to watch this show is the network’s plot descriptor: “A government scientist and his attractive counterpart try to save people from deadly scientific experiments.” Translation: Brainy dude here does all the heavy lifting and Tits McGee (Marley Shelton) is just along for the ride. Jerry Bruckheimer is really, really lucky that I’m a loyal fan, because one of my favourite TV directors and actors, Clark Johnson of Homicide: Life on the Streets and The Wire, directed an episode of this. So I’m guaranteed to tune in at least once.
Salome: It’s nice of CBS and Bruckheimer to come up with something new for me to watch just as I’ve tired of CSI: OG (let’s cut the shit – I don’t watch the spinoffs). And I do like Rufus Sewell (last seen getting “I said good day!”-ed in HBO’s magnificent John Adams).
The Ex-List – A woman desperate to find her soulmate visits a fortune teller, who reveals that she’s already met her one true love. (Fri.)
Salome: This will probably ride alongside The Ghost Whisperer in my Tivo queue of shows to watch from the bubble bath.
Tanis: All this chick does is whine about how she wants to get maaaaaaaarried and have baaaaaaaaabies and I don’t care! God! She’s young and hot and she could be having fun and fucking a bunch of dudes, which is the kind of life I wish I had. Sadly, I do not. And therefore, I will watch this show. Because I’m a single woman with cats, a demographic this network appears to be courting with a vengeance, judging by the Ghost Whisperer/Ex-List block they’ve got goin’ on here. Here’s an idea: Have the show be about the nonchalant fortune teller who’s annoyed with her stupid, needy, gullible clients. I’d watch that.
Jess: You know how people go to fortune tellers for shits and giggles? What if someone took it seriously? And then hunted down all her previous boyfriends to find her true love? Wait, you look sad. No, it’s not sad, it’s wacky! A bird poops on her! It’s a good time. The only problem is it seems a little familiar. A little like a show already on CBS. Something about finding a person, a relative or something. “When I…” Hmm. “An Encounter With Your Oma.” No, that’s not it. “What I Did With Your Dog.” I don’t know, I’m sure it’s not important. Who cares? Women will watch it! Women will watch it and love it like they love yogurt: with a desperate fear of dying fat and alone. It’s in our DNA which, Rufus Sewell tells me, is like a bar code.
Harper’s Island – A group meets to celebrate a wedding on an island that is famous for a streak of unsolved murders seven years ago. Mid-season replacement
Tanis: Dear networks: I have had enough with the shows about mysterious islands. It’s always like “OMG! Why are all these crazy things happening?” And the response is just “LOL! Islands! What’re you gonna do!” I’m so glad this is a midseason replacement. It means it will be the SECOND SHOW on in January with a mysterious fucking island. Fuck islands, man. I am done with them! P.S. Who fucking celebrates a wedding on Murder Island? “Honey, where do you want to exchange vows?” “Oh, I don’t know. Somewhere quiet, ominous, stabby.” “How about that place where all those people were slaughtered?” “Sounds good!”
Jess: The awesome premise of Twin Peaks meets the tedious small town drama that dragged down Jericho. It doesn’t even have the pull of a Skeet Ulrich let alone a Kyle MacLachlan. It does have Jim Beaver who was beholden to no human cocksucker on Deadwood, and a few of us diehard hoopleheads might tune in just for that. Otherwise Harper’s Island is peopled with blandly attractive young folks like a CW breeding colony. Oh, and Harry Hamlin. Let’s just say that I wouldn’t bet against him being the murderer.
Salome: I am so there.
NEXT on Boob Tube: The universe implodes and collapses in on itself when the Mean Girls realize Fox has the best fall schedule.